Biologists return to the office!

We’ve completed our 2019 field season!


October 1, 2019
Katie Sweeney



Somehow it feels as though we just left for our summer field season and yet, it’s nice to be back with gigabytes of data! We had another successful field season in Alaska studying Steller sea lions and northern fur seals. Our Steller sea lion research included our annual aerial survey and our annual vessel survey to the far west Aleutian Islands. Unfortunately, this year we did not get around to conducting a vessel survey to look for marked animals in the eastern Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska. Fortunately, our partners in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game were able to look for marked animals in parts of the Gulf of Alaska.

Expected 2019 field work conducted by the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. NOAA Fisheries.
Expected 2019 field work conducted by the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. Full-resolution version can be downloaded from the NOAA Fisheries website found here!

Northern fur seal research was conducted during a vessel survey to Bogoslof Island, in the eastern Aleutian Islands, as well as some land-based trips to look for tagged animals on the Pribilof Islands, where the largest aggregation of fur seals can be found. Many of our team just returned from the Pribilof Islands from a pup and adult female tagging trip, as well. And, as with previous years, we’ve had more camera tags deployed on adult female fur seals to collect rare footage of foraging at sea.

All in all, another jam packed field season and I can’t wait to share more stories with you, soon.

I have been a biologist in NOAA Fisheries Alaska Fisheries Science Center studying Steller sea lion population abundance and life history for over 10 years. I am an FAA certified remote pilot and have been flying marine mammal surveys with our hexacopter since 2014. I earned my B.S. in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington and my Master in Coastal Environmental Management at Duke University.